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Increasing the number of calories you consume in a day usually leads to weight gain, especially if you're consuming more than you burn off. Here's the skinny: what you don't burn, you store -- as fat. Increasing your daily intake to 500 calories beyond what you burn -- the equivalent of a flavored latte and a small cookie -- can lead to a one-pound weight gain weekly. Even if you are adding calories in the form of healthy nuts, oils or starches, you need to move more to prevent this spread. In other words, if you want to increase your calorie intake, you have to make sure you're working out or doing something to burn off those extra calories.
Figure out the number of calories you currently burn by using an online calorie calculator. This is the number of calories you can consume now without gaining weight. Use a calculator that takes into account your activity level and any exercise you might do.
Determine how many calories you currently eat daily and how many you plan to add to your diet. Use a calorie-reference book or website to help you identify how many calories are in foods and drinks and add them up to find your daily consumption total. If you don't want to gain weight, you need to burn more than this amount.
Devise an exercise strategy to burn off the additional calories you will be adding. Essentially, you will need to increase how much you burn in step one. Jog, for example, for 30 minutes to burn 223 calories or cycle vigorously to burn 298 calories in 30 minutes -- if you weigh 155 pounds. Realize that you burn fewer calories during activity if you weigh less and slightly more if you weigh more.
Boost your metabolic rate by increasing your muscle mass. Burn an extra 50 calories per day for every pound of muscle you gain. Lift weights at least two times per week on nonconsecutive days. Do between three and six sets of an exercise for every major muscle group using 80 to 85 percent of your one-repetition maximum. Perform eight to 12 repetitions in each set, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets. Expect your gain in metabolism to be gradual and modest, not immediate and drastic. Measure your muscle gains by having your body fat tested by a certified personal trainer.
Decrease the amount of time you spend standing still and sitting. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to the talk to work colleagues rather than send emails, ride your bike to commute or pace while you're on the phone. Add these to your daily routine and burn as much as 500 more calories.
- When you increase your calorie intake, focus on healthy foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy rather than sugary or highly-refined products which can negatively affect your health. And since these foods tend to be lower in calories, it means less extra energy to burn the calories so you don't gain weight.